Marquee Move: Warner Bros. to Purchase Portion of Burbank Studios, Anchor Office Campus in $1B Deal

Frank Gehry is designing the new office campus. The architect says the design will feature a 'sculptural glass facade' that will resemble icebergs. (Rendering courtesy of Gehry Partners, Sora)

BURBANK, CALIF. — Entertainment and media giant Warner Bros. has inked a deal to purchase a portion of The Burbank Studios, a new 35-acre film, TV, broadcast media and new media campus in Burbank formerly known as NBC Studios. The purchase includes office space, eight soundstages, a mill building and a commissary. The seller is Worthe Rea Estate Group, a Los Angeles-based office developer.

Additionally, Warner Bros. inked a lease to be the sole and long-term tenant of a planned two-building office campus adjacent to The Burbank Studios. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the combined value of the studio acquisition and new office space exceeds $1 billion.

The co-developers of the office campus are Worthe and San Francisco-based Stockbridge Real Estate, which plan to break ground on the project this fall.

The office development will be known as the Second Century Project, named in honor of Warner Bros.’ 100th anniversary in 2023, which is the expected completion date of the design and construction phases. Second Century will include a seven-story building spanning 355,000 square feet and a nine-story building spanning 445,000 square feet.

“This is an opportunity to reimagine not only our workspace but our future,” says Kim Williams, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Warner Bros. “Along with our historic lot, the newly expanded campus will fuel increased creativity, facilitate collaboration and help us attract and retain the world’s best and most diverse talent.”

Renowned architect Frank Gehry is designing the Second Century Project and plans for the development to achieve LEED certification. Gehry says that the campus will be modern but embody “old Hollywood splendor.”

“The buildings are composed as one long, sculptural glass façade that creates a single identity like icebergs floating along the freeway,” says Gehry. “On the studio side, the metal-punched façade is terraced to relate to the scale and character of the existing studio buildings.”

In a related sale-leaseback transaction, Warner Bros plans to sell three office buildings in Burbank to Worthe and Stockbridge and subsequently lease back the space until its affected employees can move to the new Second Century offices.

The assets include the Triangle Building at 4001 West Olive Ave.; the Glass Building at 3903 W. Olive Ave.; and the Wood Building at 111 N. Hollywood Way. The co-developers also plan to purchase the 30-acre Warner Bros. Ranch located on Hollywood Way.

The sale of the three office buildings is expected to take place later this year. Warner’s purchase of The Burbank Studios and Worthe/Stockbridge’s purchase of the Warner Bros. Ranch is expected to occur in 2023.

— John Nelson

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